“Hurry! The ferry is waiting at the dock already!”
“I don’t think we’re going to make it!”
“There it goes. When is the next one due?”
“Only two hours from now.”
Gareth and I looked at each other in dismay. This was pretty much the story of our Italian holiday so far, one mistake after another. We had bought an expensive day pass to explore all the little towns on the shore of Lake Garda, but now it was already midday and we were stranded in Lazise, after Garda and Bardolino only our third stop so far. By the time the ferry returned, we’d be late paying our parking and there wouldn’t be enough time to go to Peschiera or Sirmione, both of which looked very picturesque from the postcards on display everywhere.
We shrugged it off. Although we’d already seen all there was to see here, we decided to take another stroll through town, maybe grab a gelato or two. It was a lovely day and a holiday vibe hung in the air as tourists meandered along the shoreline. In the church just across from the dock, people dressed in their evening best were preparing for a wedding. There were worse places to be stuck for an hour or two.
We had started the morning off in the town of Garda, a lovely lakeside holiday destination. Locals walked their dogs along the shore, Gareth chased ducks, as usual, and I stopped to smell the flowers while we waited for the ferry to arrive. Already the coffee shops lined up against the shore were bustling as people came to have breakfast with a view.
Finally the ferry coasted up to the quay. Our plan was to stop at as many villages as we could. We weren’t disappointed by Bardolino. The town was picture-perfect with all the little boats in the harbour and the narrow, winding streets. We might have stayed there a little bit too long, because when the next ferry showed up, we had to go back to Garda again to put more money in the parking meter. We made it worth our while by stopping for milkshake and cake along the harbour.
When we stepped off the ferry again, it was in Lazise, clearly a popular destination from the amount of people lining the streets. There were old ruins to explore, curio stalls and pretty alleyways around every corner. By the time the ferry had come and gone, our feet were sore from all the walking. We sat down and dipped our toes in the clear lake water. Ah, bliss.
Our time at Lake Garda was much too short and I think you’d need at least two or three days to explore it fully. Which of its lakeside villages would you recommend as must-sees?
For more posts in the Ciao Italy 2014 series, click here.